Western Australia’s growers are in danger of being left behind as a result of the WA Labor Government’s refusal to allow them access to throw-over netting under a federally funded program.
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said there appears to be no reason why Western Australia has restricted their growers from accessing support for drape netting under the $42 million Horticulture Netting Infrastructure Program.
“I have spent the past nine days meeting and listening to producers from regional WA and it is clear to me they have an Agriculture Minister who is not interested in representing the interests of their industry,” said Mr Littleproud.
“Following a successful trial of the Horticultural Netting Program, the Coalition Government expanded the program to include more growers with an extra $4.8 million in federal funding.
“However, the Western Australia Government has yet to approve this access. This is now an option that other jurisdictions enable their growers to take up.
“Netting can seriously improve both the quality and quantity of fresh food crops. Why restrict the very people you pertain to represent from access to support when it’s in their best interests?
“It is very clear that Minister MacTiernan just doesn’t get agriculture.”
High value local fruit crops face bird predation every year, according to Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino.
“Apple production alone is worth over $50 million a year in the South West,” Mrs Marino said.
“Netting can mean substantial savings for growers, and higher grade fruit for consumers,” she said.